Planet Iron Blogger SF

November 29, 2021

Certainly Strange

Oakland Hike

Went hiking in Oakland today for the first time in a while, I think it was in or near the Redwood Regional Park

by Steen at November 29, 2021 07:40 AM

Claire Kao

book wishlist

I'm beginning to have a moderate Tsundoku/book-hoarding problem, so I've decided to *stop* buying books willy-nilly and to *start* a book wishlist (side note: isn't it too bad Indiebound discontinued their wishlist feature?). From here on out, I can work my way through my book wishlist only after I've really read my way through my piles. If you have any experience on the above books or different recommendations or thoughts or comments or dislikes or fears or aspirations or concerns or hopes, lmk !!

Aaaand this was my most recent method of tracking my book wishlist before tonight:

long email chain of book wishlist.JPG  
a very long unwieldy replying-to-myself email chain (⊙_(⊙_⊙)_⊙)

do tell, how do you track the books you want to read ????

by Claire ( at November 29, 2021 06:05 AM

Doctor Popular

Tux and Fanny is a fantastic game!

Christine and I just finished playing a game called Tux And Fanny. I loved it so much that I had to share it with my friends. The game is based on a web series of the same name. It follows Fanny and Tux through an animated world in the style of a young kids show. It has some major Teletubbies vibes, but with a lot of surrealist and dadaist humor. If you are a fan of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, you’ll love this.

Tux and Fanny is available on Switch or on Itch (for your PC) and it will only take a weekend or two to beat. The game is a point and click style puzzle game filled with really silly mini-games. None of it is hard though. It’s more about trying to use the mini-games to add to the story. Sometimes the mini-game is literally just walking a character to the right a little bit, but it’s really just using that format to add more depth to the world. The art is great, the story is wonderful, and the music really adds to the whole thing.

I can’t recommend this game highly enough!

I mentioned the webseries, which is great, but I really recommend starting with the game first.

The post Tux and Fanny is a fantastic game! appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at November 29, 2021 04:21 AM

November 24, 2021

I Like Turtles

Visiting Santa


November 24, 2021 05:00 AM

November 22, 2021

Claire Kao

a fly on the wall

Does everyone wish as badly as I do that they could be a fly on a wall to everything, all the time?? Maybe not everything, but there are so many closed doors that I'd like to know what it's like behind, so many dynamics I would never be privvy to that I'd like to see for myself, so many dynamics that I am privvy to that I'd be curious to see play out in unexpected, forbidden spaces. 
To that end, I had two experiences this weekend where I got to be a silent, unseen observer of very particular situations/spaces...

1. seeing the play "Is This a Room"

Consumption of art/media in general kind of counts as being a certain kind of fly on a certain wall, but I saw a play today called "Is This a Room" that literally brought the audience in as observers of a private exchange that actually happened. The play's script was the transcript of when Reality Winner was questioned in June of 2017 by several FBI agents about her handling of classified information. Every single um-ah-stutter is captured and rendered, though the pacing/layer/talking-over/pauses have been interpreted.

You find yourself in disbelief that these are real exchanges that happened in a real interrogation, such as this moment of brevity at the height of the questioning:
how was this dialogue not crafted by a cheeky playwright??

This actually happened, and you're getting to hear it for yourself in this play. The flipping between convivial/cordial/casual and menacing/intimidating/coaxing is obvious in the bare dialogue, and the interpretation and mise-en-scene emphasized the power and gender dynamics at play especially as this young woman comes up against the state.  I felt bad I hadn't followed Reality Winner's story more closely back in 2017, but was grateful for this method of seeing/understanding/empathizing with her story.
Nose-bleedy seats let us look down on the spatial politics of the interrogation 


2. lurking in a Twitter Space of NFT enthusiasts 

Saturday morning, meandering through Twitter, I noticed a Twitter Space of NFT enthusiasts and hopped in. It was relatively intimate, maybe only 5 speakers and 10 listeners, and every single person in the Space had one of the gutter gang NFTs as their Twitter avatar. I was in a gutter cat gang chat:

I genuinely was curious of how NFT folks talk amongst themselves, what language they use, what drives and brings them together. I was hoping to learn something from the way they talked that could show me the positive aspect to NFTs. Every coin has two sides, right? I didn’t end up being convinced. 

Lately, I’ve been frustrated at how mainstream it has become to co-opt language around mental health and community-building and apply these concepts and words toward money-making, neoliberal ends. I saw a lot of enthusiasm for the word "community" in this convo: a lot of discussion of how welcoming, inclusive, and unified the NFT community is, and in particular, the gutter cat gang. An innocent entered the chat and said she was enthusiastic about NFTs, but was learning, and began to ask many questions in earnest. The conversation was moving steadily, until she asked: "what does the gutter cat gang stand for?". At this question, the previously effusive speakers hot-potatoed the question until one of them took over and, squirming, talked meanderingly about the warm welcome and enthusiasm that everyone in the "gang" has for the "gang". 

I've been reflecting on the lack of an articulated shared common value / unifying belief that somehow still sustains a fanatical devotion to the cause and the group. Maybe this is obvious and has already been said, but this convo made me realize that NFTs are the ultimate late-late-capitalism interpretation on belonging, membership, and community. We, in this NFT gang, are financially incentivized to have enthusiasm for this space and the people in it. We aren't necessarily connecting, sharing, or seeing one another, just making a ton of noise in a stadium in support of our team and seeing the perceived value of our membership tokens go up in turn. I know this chat doesn’t represent everyone who is enthusiastic about NFTs and their reasons, but the fact this relationship with NFTs can exist and flourish seemed very upsetting to me indeed. Stepping silently into the space afforded me a deeper, unfortunately more cynical view, of how things are inside this world. 

Update 11/22/21

by Claire ( at November 22, 2021 07:55 PM


got the boost, get the boost!



Boosting this video (that you've probably seen):

Amber Ruffin.JPG


a sleepytime boost: 
Recently, on nights where I haven't dropped off to sleep immediately, I've been running through different image associations along the ROYGBIV scale, just different things embedded in my mind. I'm considering it a primer of sorts, so that I'm not totally surprised in the morning by what my subconscious unearthed during the night. 
I haven't seen this recommended anywhere and is not an idea terribly based in science. But I've been cycling through the colors until I fall asleep, and I typically get one or two cycles deep before I'm off...

UPDATE 11/22/21

And here's some fun color trivia:

by Claire ( at November 22, 2021 05:58 PM

Certainly Strange

Community Music Center

So string orchestra and ensemble playing had been put on hold for quite a while due to the pandemic. But with masks and vaccines required, we have been able to start rehearsing again, and we just had our first concert in over 2 years!

by Steen at November 22, 2021 08:23 AM


React CanvasComponent and Conway’s Game of Life

React CanvasComponent and Conway’s Game of Life

November 22, 2021 04:52 AM

Doctor Popular

The Transforming Tall Bike

A few weeks back I was hanging outside of Bender’s with some friends when I saw a rad low-rider bicycle heading down 20th St. As the bike began to cross South Van Ness the rider began to slowly rise from the ground as his bike converted from a low-rider to a tall bike. In just ten seconds he was sitting about 5 feet higher than he was before.

ImageLaird’s Transforming Bike

When the rider came back down the street later I flagged him down and asked him about his bike. His name was Laird and he had custom built the bike based on some tutorials that rachl009 had posted on Instructables a few years back. It’s an incredible mod!

The post The Transforming Tall Bike appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at November 22, 2021 03:26 AM

November 19, 2021

I Like Turtles

Lightbulb probation


November 19, 2021 05:00 AM

November 16, 2021

I before E except Gleitzman

November 15, 2021

Certainly Strange

Another Birpday

Well I made it around the sun another time! This year I couldn’t decide whether to wear my Romulan uniform for the big day, or my suit that I got tailored right before the pandemic and never got a chance to wear out. I let people vote on it, and suit won! I also made … Continue reading "Another Birpday"

by Steen at November 15, 2021 08:21 AM

Doctor Popular

Gotye’s Jean-Jacques Perrey Cover Band

What would you do if a song you wrote suddenly became the most popular song in the world?

After the success of his 2011 hit “Somebody That I Used To Know”, Gotye left his career as a solo artist and formed a Jean-Jacques Perrey cover band. The band is called the Ondioline Orchestra and I swear I’m not making any of this up!

I like to think that if I suddenly had unlimited funds and artistic freedom, I’d do the same thing. I’m a huge fan of Perrey’s work and I hope it shows in my music.

If you aren’t familiar with Jean-Jacques Perrey, he was an early pioneer in the world of electronic music. He invented a musical device called the Ondioline, but I think he might be most well known for his work with Gershon Kingsley on “The In Sound From Way Out!“. Here’s some footage I shot of Perrey performing in SF.

The post Gotye’s Jean-Jacques Perrey Cover Band appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at November 15, 2021 03:41 AM


November 13, 2021

I Like Turtles

Fiona's soccer class


November 13, 2021 05:00 AM

November 08, 2021

Doctor Popular

Two New Portraits By Matt DeLight

I recently commissioned some new portraits from my friend Matt DeLight. The first is a portrait of myself:

Watercolor portrait of Doc Pop by Matt DeLight

The second was a portrait of Steen in her Romulan costume:

Sub-Commander Steen by Matt DeLight

The post Two New Portraits By Matt DeLight appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at November 08, 2021 05:22 AM

Claire Kao


a documentary that had been on my list for around 10 years, I finally found my way to it recently. A complex portrait of the brilliant and problematic artist R. Crumb:

01 crumb title card.png
Robert Crumb aka R. Crumb, a cartoonist most active and known for his work in the '60s and '70s. A documentary made by Terry Zwigoff over the course of a reportedly anguishing 9 years

every frame of this movie has so, much, going on


There isn’t a single reason

confrontation with a chauvinist-narcissist in 3 frames

When I find value in R. Crumb’s work vs. when I don’t 

unexpected protagonists, an iconic micspelling

by Claire ( at November 08, 2021 04:37 AM


November 06, 2021

Certainly Strange

Constructing the Hakeev Doll

I finally finished modifying the Kane doll into a Hakeev doll, and I think it turned out great! Here are the steps I used I started with a Kane doll, because it most resembled Hakeev to start with. The more the doll resembles how I ultimately want it to look, the less work I will … Continue reading "Constructing the Hakeev Doll"

by Steen at November 06, 2021 08:30 PM

November 05, 2021

I Like Turtles



November 05, 2021 04:00 AM

November 01, 2021

Certainly Strange

Claire Kao


One of my silly Halloween costume ideas a couple years ago was Ghost the Direwolf from Game of Thrones. I took a picture of what that costume would be, basically just a big fur coat, and promptly forgot about it. 

In December 2020, I got a notification from the Apple Photo app that an automatic complication of “Fluffy Friends” from 2019 had been compiled. Here’s the compilation:

One of these is not like the others: daisy, casey, hank, tinta, claire as ghost

I already had a ton of questions around how these photo apps analyze photos because I had found them to work surprisingly well. I thought I had some ideas on how the dog recognition was happening and then this happened ??  So my questions have only compounded 🐩🧐

Anywho, happy Halloween, my favorite weekend of the year, here’s a festive MTA conductor spotted today:


by Claire ( at November 01, 2021 05:18 AM

Doctor Popular

My Orville Peck Costume for Halloween

Happy Halloween y’all. I had been thinking about sewing some fringe onto a mask lately just for shiggles, but I finally took the time to do it tonight so I could also wear it as an Orville Peck costume.

If you haven’t heard of Orville yet, he’s one of my favorite country music songwriters. I highly recommend checking out his album, Pony, or watching the short documentary about him

Pony by Orville Peck

The post My Orville Peck Costume for Halloween appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at November 01, 2021 02:53 AM

October 29, 2021

I Like Turtles

Annual photoshoot


October 29, 2021 04:00 AM

October 25, 2021

Certainly Strange

I made it back!

This weekend I got back from the PNW with my upgraded battery pack in my car, and it all went smoothly! I didn’t die or get stranded!!

by Steen at October 25, 2021 09:14 AM

Claire Kao

something’s fishy

and it’s my new lil friend, Fionnuala:

a dragon scale male betta fish 


is a traditional Irish name, sometimes spelled Finnguala/Fionnghuala and pronounced Fin-oo-lah. ((Although this choir seems to pronounce it Finn-ah-gah-wala. Open for an Irish language treat if you're not familiar with the language)). Literal meaning: "white shoulder", which our fishy friend appears to have here.

In an Irish legend called the Children of Lir, Fionnuala is one of four children of Lir. The Children of Lir are turned into swans by a jealous step-mother (I don't love this trope), and cursed to swim the lakes of Ireland for 900 years. In the myth, the arrival of Christianity to Ireland is what releases the swans from their curse!

I absolutely love the names in this fairytale: Aodh, Fiachra, and Conn (the other three children of Lir), Aoife (the evil step-mom), and the Tuatha Dé Danann (the name of this mythical race of people).

Early on in the pandemic, I was reading this tale over Zoom to nieces and nephews and it was an absolutely transporting, magical fairytale that served well in a fun bonding activity. I figured I'd bring a piece of this tale/memory along for this next phase of the pandemic, as I cozy up my workspace and introduce a fishy friend 🐠

AND we can abbreviate to Finn, which in addition to its relevant fishiness, can also stand for one of our animated faves, Finn the Human:


P.S. if anyone else wants to introduce a fishy friend to their lives/work-from-home life, I have a ton of extra substrate...

by Claire ( at October 25, 2021 04:47 AM

Doctor Popular

From Portland to San Francisco, a Road Trip

This week, Christine and I took a short road trip from Portland to San Francisco, and it was fantastic. We took Christine’s electric car on our first trip outside of the state since the pandemic. On the way to SF, we stopped in Eugene so I could see my friends at One Drop for a 48 Hour Yo-Yo Project. The project was a success, but I haven’t yet made the specifics public.

I decided to film some of my favorite yo-yos in One Drop’s playable yo-yo collection while I was there. Shawn Nelson, One Drop’s co-owner and head machinist, also showed me some of his favorite yo-yos in this video:

Then we visited Arcata for a few days before heading back home. It was a great trip.

The post From Portland to San Francisco, a Road Trip appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at October 25, 2021 04:01 AM


A chess lecture in Washington Square Park

A chess lecture in Washington Square Park

October 25, 2021 03:50 AM

October 23, 2021

Matt Spitz

Management beyond relationships

I’ve had a few major inflection points in my career as a manager. Previously, I’ve written about managing without domain expertise. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on another: management beyond relationships.

I have high EQ, which, for whatever reason, stands for “emotional intelligence” – I read people well and build trust quickly. In practice, this means that I’m a good recruiter and can sense challenges that individuals and teams face before they manifest. Unfortunately, having high EQ has also been a crutch that enabled me to manage much larger teams than the immaturity of my management skills should have allowed.

Since I was a member of the founding team at Dropbox NYC, almost everyone on my team was someone that I’d recruited personally. I had a relationship with each person joining my team coming in, and there was at least some implicit trust from the start. When my team was small, my team processes were unstructured, and I leveraged relationships to understand what was happening on my team and figure out how I could help. I was able to get away with managing almost 20 people this way before I hit a breaking point and had rude awakening.

In an annual Dropbox reorg, I inherited two teams based in San Francisco and expanded the scope of my teams in New York, about 30 people across 4 teams and beyond what I could manage effectively. I doubled down and spent a lot of time and effort running my old playbook – understanding what was happening on my team by leveraging conversations rather than process. I was frustrated, couldn’t figure out why, and nearly burned out.

With the next year’s reorg, I had a team of 50 people and decided to reevaluate. During one of Dropbox’s Hack Weeks, I hacked together a better way to run my organization. I created regular reviews to check in on my teams’ status, key metrics, and operational postmortems, and I designed templates for quarterly staffing assessments to track performance and career aspirations for every individual on my team. All of this process de-personalized my involvement in the team, created clearer expectations for engineering managers, and enabled managers to take more ownership and responsibility for their teams.

As my organization continued to evolve, I built some metaprocess to ensure that my operating cadence was effective. Each time that I needed to check something on my team, I asked myself whether I had a process for that (e.g. “would I get an answer to this question in our next execution review?”) and whether that process was happening soon enough to answer my question. The extra check before digging in helped me refine the agenda and cadence of these meetings and often saved me from disrupting my team.

Leveraging process over relationships enabled me to scale myself to managing much larger teams more effectively and with significantly less stress. I can still leverage my EQ, but I no longer depend on it, and everyone is better off for it!

October 23, 2021 04:00 AM

October 18, 2021

Claire Kao

kwee’s weeks in photos

back in my old world, back with a lot of former places, peoples, and things. Feeling differently, sometimes better, sometimes worse—but knowing when to leave and when to stay, and the spaces/ppl that are good for da energy ⚡️

Fun fact: I used to live below Sarah, who was recently described by the New Yorker as having "a voice that could soothe a charging tiger" 🐅 
Thirsty plantie 

Thank u for the smiles 
The Book of Eels
Morningsiders ♥ 
🐶 👅 I’m the fun weekend auntie for any and all New Yorker dogs  
Amen sista, a good tote bag a good outfit

Many masks, many selves 
A couple of sweets. C described our home as “cluttered in, like a, really beautiful way” 📚🪴🖼🍛

St. Vincent at Radio City. Our friend Cassie was supposed to open which was going to be such! an! exciting! wonderful! thing! but St. Vincent ended up canceling openers on her tour in order to minimize COVID risks 😭 Cassie's touring all round the world though in the coming months, so be sure to find her ヾ(⌐■_■)ノ♪ 
A joyful social SW!NG OUT at the Joyce Theater 
hbd z 💕
Spotted: Terry Allen behind the bar at Yellow Rose (a very yummy resto btw)
An absolutely divine meal at Sarashina Horii 

by Claire ( at October 18, 2021 04:29 AM


How to prevent a single word after a line break with CSS

How to prevent a single word after a line break with CSS

October 18, 2021 04:21 AM

October 17, 2021

Certainly Strange

PNW Trip

I’m going up north to upgrade my car’s battery and visit my brother. It will be the first time I’ve left the state since before 2019… fingers crossed!

by Steen at October 17, 2021 07:44 AM

Doctor Popular

Teaching An Old Doc New Tricks

For the newest episode of PopCast, I filmed myself learning a new trick called the Ghost Slack. You can watch it here.

The post Teaching An Old Doc New Tricks appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at October 17, 2021 02:58 AM

October 16, 2021

I Like Turtles



October 16, 2021 04:00 AM

October 11, 2021

Certainly Strange

More Pencil Studies

I should be doing digital drawing for practice, but I’m much slower at digital drawing and it is much more difficult for me. So for quick easy sketches to just understand the structure of the drapery (etc) I’ve been using pencil. Although I fully realize that part of the reason pencil is easier for me … Continue reading "More Pencil Studies"

by Steen at October 11, 2021 06:24 AM

October 10, 2021

I Like Turtles

Palm Springs wedding


October 10, 2021 04:00 AM

October 04, 2021

Doctor Popular

Adding Color to Black and White Photos With @colorize_bot on Twitter

I’ve been having a lot of fun sending some of my 35mm film photographs to a twitterbot that utilizes artificial intelligence to add color to black-and-white photos. The bot is called @colorize_bot (not to be confused with a long-dormant bot named @colorizebot). The results are pretty cool:

The post Adding Color to Black and White Photos With @colorize_bot on Twitter appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at October 04, 2021 04:47 PM

Certainly Strange

Reprised Cake Photo

I decided to reprise my Romulan cake photo, with a different rainbow cake and a different Romulan uniform. Honestly I just really like to eat cake.

by Steen at October 04, 2021 07:28 AM


Learning how to cook as a software engineer

Learning how to cook as a software engineer

October 04, 2021 06:05 AM

Claire Kao

LA: a wedding & Everything Now

we went to a beautiful, lovely dovely, love-filled wedding in LA last week for our dear friends Ben & Regina:
all in attendance were vaccinated, we tested negative for COVID before and after the event. it felt all the more precious to be with much-loved friends after a good amount of time away. we definitely aren't making gatherings a habit right now, but are taking precautions, choosing wisely, and savoring the celebration ⭐✨

so happy to see my bestie, a genuine Good People™, all married up with someone who is just as wonderful, kind, and brilliant. They are fantastic partners and complements to each other, and I'm excited for the world they are building together. all my love to R&B 🎶♥


To complement the trip to LA, I read Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles, a book that attempts to explain Los Angeles via interviews, observations, anecdotes, notes, and quotes about the place. As a native Angeleno who has fully adopted New York City, I feel the whole range of human feeling toward Los Angeles, and am always eager to engage with something that might help me process. I loved this book, and in fact, agree that: 
 Everything Now should be handed out to everyone who gets off a plane at LAX.
a review blurb from Jim Gavin, author of Middle Men and creator of Lodge 49
When I was going through my photos from the trip, the book resonated with me so much that I decided to overlay some of my pictures with passages from the book: 

LA 1.jpg
LA 2.jpg
LA 3.jpg
LA 4.jpg
LA 5.jpg
LA 6.jpg
LA 7.jpg
LA 8.jpg
LA 9.jpg
LA 10.jpg
LA 11.jpg
LA 12.jpg

Several takeaways by the end: 
- I have to cut LA some slack. the place is so much bigger than my experience of it; the people so much more than the insular communities I grew up in.
- in many ways, my frustrations with Los Angeles are my frustrations with the country at large. The car culture, the sheltered & paranoid nature of suburbia, the valuing of private property over public life & community, the racism & segregation, etc. Since I know it quite well and it manifests so much, it's an easy target.
- my rage and anger at the injustice and inequality presented in so many parts of LA history and ecology is absolutely valid.

all in all, I highly recommend and would be happy to lend the book 📚

by Claire ( at October 04, 2021 05:47 AM